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Posts Tagged ‘Hamlet

“A little more than kin, and less than kind”*…


Sarah Boxer explains:

What, another Hamlet? There must be a zillion already: Slang HamletFirst Folio HamletCompressed HamletNo Fear Hamlet. Into this field, I toss Hamlet: Prince of Pigs, a Tragicomic. Why a comic? Because comics and plays are twin arts. Both use visual cues as much as words. Both have abrupt breaks between scenes. And their words are mostly dialogue.

Why a pig? In the name “Hamlet,” I hear little ham, little pig. And the pig pun fits! In Shakespeare’s day, if you wanted to mock the king, you’d put on a pig mask. The “swine-snouted king” was a stock figure of fun.

Once Hamlet’s species was set, I hewed to a one-family, one-species rule for the rest of the cast. Thus Hamlet’s uncle, Claudius, the murderer, “the bloat king,” is a big fat pig. Hamlet’s mother, Gertrude, is a pig with lipstick. Ophelia is a cat because cats don’t do well in water. So her father, Polonius, and her brother, Laertes, are cats, too. For minor characters, I followed a one-profession, one-species rule. Gravediggers are dogs because dogs are excellent diggers. The players are mice because their play is “The Mousetrap.” The sentries, including Horatio, are rats because, well, rats look handsome in helmets.

You’ll see that Hamlet: Prince of Pigs has been stripped of all fat. And tragedy minus many words is comedy. A pared-down Hamlet is a funny Hamlet

Sample her work at “Hamlet, My Prince of Pigs“; dive into the full comic here.

* Hamlet (on Claudius); Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 2


As we wonder what’s behind the arras, we might recall that it was on this date in 1975 that The Rocky Horror Picture Show opened on Broadway.  An import from London (where it ran from 1973 to 1980), it bewildered critics and theater-goers in New York, where it ran through only its three previews and 45 performances (despite being nominated for a Tony and for three Drama Desk awards).  Broadway cast members Tim Curry, Meat Loaf, and Richard O’Brien (who also wrote the book and composed the score for the show) went on to star in the film version, released later that same year– which became, of course, one of the most successful cult classics of all-time.



Written by LW

March 10, 2018 at 1:01 am

Fun with the Dewey Decimal System!…

Artist Nina Katchadourian has been having fun in libraries since 1993…

…culling through a collection of books, pulling particular titles, and eventually grouping the books into clusters so that the titles can be read in sequence, from top to bottom. The final results are shown either as photographs of the book clusters or as the actual stacks themselves, shown on the shelves of the library they were drawn from.

Readers can explore Katchadourian’s Sorted Book Project.

As we browse with newly-found enthusiasm, we might recall that it was on this date in 1593 that an arrest warrant was issued for Christopher Marlowe, after his fellow playwright– and former roommate– Thomas Kyd accused him of blasphemy.  Kyd had been arrested three days earlier, and tortured on suspicion that he’d committed treason.  Confronted with heretical documents found in his room, Kyd alleged that they belonged to Marlowe, with whom he had earlier shared the room.  The warrant was sworn, and Marlowe was arrested on 20th.  He was released on bail, but killed in a bar brawl on the 30th.

Marlowe, a contemporary and rival of Shakespeare, wrote terrifically successful plays (e.g., Tamburlaine, The Jew of Malta, and The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus) and popular poetry (e.g., The Passionate Shepherd to His Love, and with George Chapman, Hero and Leander).  Kyd is remembered for a single work, Spanish Tragedie, which some scholars believe was an inspiration for Hamlet.  Kyd died, penniless, in 1593.


Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar…

From Sarah Schmelling and McSweeney’s, Hamlet as it might unfold on Facebook (rendered by Angelfire):

(For a larger and more readable version, click here.)

Update, and further to “How Quickly We Forget…“:  this lovely piece from Lost Magazine (originally from Alexander Stile’s The Future of the Past):  “Are We Losing Our Memory? or The Museum of Obsolete Technology.”

As ponder we performers, we might pause to recall that it was on this date in 1901 that Australian diva Helen Porter Mitchell– better known as Nellie Melba– revealed to the world the recipe for “Melba Toast.”  The dish’s name dates back to 1897, when it was created for the then-ailing singer by the great chef (and her great fan) Auguste Escoffier;  hotel proprietor César Ritz coined the term in conversation with Escoffier.

Peckish readers can find the recipe here.

(So great was Melba’s sway over Escoffier that he also created “Peach Melba” in her honor…)

Nellie Melba

Written by LW

March 23, 2009 at 1:01 am

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